As I write, it’s an unusually cold and blustery day in Orlando, Florida. The trees are swaying from the strong wind, the air is damp and drizzly with rain, and it’s the first time that I’ve felt cold in a while. The view from my window is reminiscent of the cold and dreary days I grew up with in the UK (minus the palm trees, of course). Those of you who know me well will know that I’m not a fan of hot and humid weather. Ever since we’ve moved to Florida, I’ve been petulant about the need to shower multiple times a day in an effort to rejuvenate from the sweaty mess that I find myself in each time I step out to the barn. I’ve been homesick for Ohio and the changing seasons, yearning for some reprieve from the exhausting heat, and feeling adamant that my body prefers the cold. But now that I’m feeling the cold, I’m not sure if that’s what I’m cut out for either.

All this got me thinking about how the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence, and how so many people I meet are on a quest for something more, or different, to what their lives are offering them in the moment. I’m not exempt from this process, clearly. It’s what motivates me to work hard towards my mission and vision for The HERD Institute. It’s also what drives me to continuously reach for more knowledge and skills. It comes with drawbacks though. The pull towards something more, or different, stops me from appreciating the present.

This cold day is a stark reminder for me to be more mindful of taking in the joy of each moment, and to offer gratitude for all that is. And I have SO much to be thankful for right now! This month has been incredible. As The HERD Institute continues to grow our community, I have been gifted by the presence of some amazingly talented students coming through the programs. Each of them will be making their own unique contributions, impacting the lives of so many in their local communities, through bringing their authentic presence into this field of work. I feel honored to be walking alongside them on this part of their journey. This month has also been spent developing a new HERD Affiliate program that we are aiming to launch in April this year. This new venture will allow more practitioners to take the work of The HERD into their communities. We will be announcing more information soon, so watch this space!

I am also proud to announce that we are now officially recognized as an affiliate service provider for PATH International, making us the only Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy & Learning Certification provider listed on the PATH website. This partnership seeks to offer additional benefits to those working within the field of equine facilitated work, and The HERD Institute is pleased to be able to offer a 20% discount to all PATH Intl. Members enrolling on our certification programs.

In other news, after a rather traumatic computer malfunction that resulted in the loss of a third of the manuscript, my second book entitled “It’s not about the activity: Thinking outside the toolbox in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy & Learning” has just gone under contract with University Professors Press, and will be published by June this year.

While all of this is exciting news, what I am most grateful for right now is the outpouring of love and support we have received from students and graduates. As part of our continued efforts to improve our services and offerings, we invited students and graduates to a filming day in Ohio. Through the magical lens of John Ondo from Ondo Media, potential students will now get a glimpse of what it means to belong in The HERD. This touches me deeply as the community we co-create is one of the most meaningful aspects of what The HERD Institute stands for.

So despite the dreary weather, my heart is warm and cozy, and I am beyond grateful for this moment, right here, right now. What are you feeling warm and cozy about right now?

Best Wishes,

Executive Director